With Russia and American on the brink of nuclear war, MI6 and the CIA face an opportunity to receive top secret information for a Russian Soviet officer. But with few operatives on the ground they must take an unlikely step to maximize the offer. Will it pay off?
Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) becomes increasingly concerned about how his country is being managed, particularly when it comes to the deployment of nuclear missiles. News of his doubts reach British intelligence agent Dickie Franks (Angus Wright) and CIA official Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan) who realise the enormity of the opportunity. The only problem is most of their operatives are already deployed or compromised. What to do?
Hard working British family man and salesman Grenville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) is invited to lunch and given “an offer you can’t refuse”. Expand your business into Moscow, obtain intelligence on the Cuban Missile Crisis and thereby save the world. Oh and one more thing … you can’t tell anyone, not even your wife Shelia (Jessie Buckley), who incidentally has reason to doubt you after an earlier indiscretion. Simple.
Greville meets with informant Oleg and the two men work together, as time ticks down on JFK’s ultimatum for Russia to get their missiles out of Cuba. With both men risking their lives over and over, a friendship forms, one that will ultimately see each man hold the others life in their hands.
Cumberbatch and Ninidze deliver brilliant performances, exploring partiorism, immense bravery, and the ultimate test of loyalty. The suspense will have you holding your breath right up to the end.
The fact that this was based on a true story and being able to see the real Grenville at the end added another extraordinary dimension. It’s almost unbelievable what these two men achieved and to think it all happened within our lifetime.
Cumberbatch’s physicality in this movie reminded of his role in Frankenstein (search it out if you haven’t seen it already) and Jessie Buckley does a good job as the doubting wife.
Ultimately the movie reminds us that anyone can make a difference.
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